Yesterday was the website's tenth anniversary and I couldn't let the date pass without paying tribute to the hard work put in over the years by our team. How to do this? By going through each year systematically and explaining in painstaking detail why each one was the best yet, of course. That's how we roll in these parts.
Progress: The first four articles created were Coronation Street, Corriepedia, Coronation Street in 1960 and Ken Barlow, all of whose first edits simply read "Will fill this out soon". Episode 1 followed the next day, then Episode 2 and so on until 25th May when it was pointed out to me that going through them in order may not be the most practical idea. The first 'current' episode was then added, numbered 6820. As can be seen in the initial edit , two actors' names are misspelled, Michael Starke's character is called Jerry Mason and it was apparently written and directed by Tony Warren and Derek Bennett, who helmed the first episode.
The first wave of editors besides me were recruited from Doctor Who Forum (as it was then called), and User:Jtomlin1uk signed up five days in.
The best yet because: User:Jtomlin1uk joined us, without whom the Wiki would have died a quick death!
Progress: We achieved our first major milestone - of having every episode page created with the bare minimum of a plot and infobox by the time the the 7000th episode was aired - fifteen days ahead of target on 13th January. I'm still not sure how that happened. Probably John. It's always John.
The year was also significant for us in that John started dipping into the BFI well. In the BFI's holdings are many Coronation Street episodes which aren't viewable anywhere outside ITV's vaults, and their archive is open to members of the public who are viewing for research purposes. This became our primary source of information on the 1969 to 1976 period (unfortunately they have little from before then).
Progress: The first concerted effort to get the word out was made. I hadn't advertised the site much before as I didn't want visitors to come here and see the scaffolding - it was and still is a work in progress, but by 2010 the framework was in place and we felt better able to cope with an increase in site traffic.
This was, of course, the year of Corrie's 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, we ran a poll to determine the most popular character of all time, presenting the results of the top fifty one day and one character at a time both on here and on Digital Spy. Blanche Hunt came out on top and the outcome was reported by our friends at the Coronation Street Blog . Hmmm, I wonder who'll win in two years' time?
The results are still available here, for those who are interested.
The best yet because: We were described as "the excellent website coronationstreet.wikia.com" in Sean Egan's 50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story. That was when we knew we'd made it!
Progress: We received a fresh lick of paint to bring our site's appearance into line with the programme. The makeover got us another mention in Coronation Street Blog . The reason for the change? Because our previous look was so awful that Wikia Central intervened (thanks for the help User:LexiLexi).
In August, some bright spark decided that we didn't already have enough to be getting on with and added Places to the episode pages. This opened up new avenues such as establishing which sets were built on which weeks and how often the programme went out on location.
The best yet because: We were well on our way to our goal of having cast lists for every episode, completing the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s through a combination of TV Times, BFI viewings and a handful of other sources. Now of course, we'd just go on Youtube.
Progress: We added the final missing cast list two days after our fourth anniversary on 23rd May, making us the only place in the public domain with a complete set. There remained the task of verifying them (still ongoing) but the first part of the work was now complete. We could now create 'List of appearance' pages for every character including, naturally, Ken Barlow - List of appearances which is the biggest article on the site.
The best yet because: John, Karen and I met up for the first time in Manchester in April. I'd already met John two years earlier but neither of us had met Karen yet. I half suspected that Karen was actually six or seven different people due to the incredible speed at which she powers through episodes, but only one turned up. We ate, toured some filming locations, and learned that Elsie Tanner is the answer to every question about Coronation Street. It really does make a difference putting a face to the name and we've had two further meet-ups since then.
In July, I wrote an article for the Coronation Street Blog about that month's BFI visit which can be found here . You can also read about subsequent visits at Forum:BFI visits, for info on all things early 70s if you're that way inclined.
The best yet because: One of our earliest tweets was an exclusive that the writer of Episode 108 (25th December 1961) - Carol Nicholas - was a pseudonym of Tony Warren and Derek Granger. This factoid was confirmed for us by none other than Tony Warren himself! Thank you to Coronation Streets archivists Helen Nugent and Dominic Khouri for answering this query and for the immense help and support that you and ITV have given us over the years.
Progress: 1988 became our first year for which every character introduced, regular and guest alike, had a completed article (it helps that the only regular that debuted, Sandra Stubbs, didn't last a year). Five years after the episode pages were completed, the rest of the site caught up to the point where the episodes of the main show now made up less than half of the total number of articles on Corriepedia, which hit 17,000 in September.
However, all of that paled into insignificance when the programme moved to MediaCity and the old set at Quay Street studios was opened to the public. It was a boost for the site, of course, as we were able photograph the buildings (once people moved out of the way), but it was magical to walk on the cobbles for the first time and have a natter about Corrie with the tour guides.
The best yet because: Need I say more?
Progress: Half of all known guest characters who had appeared in the programme had full profiles written by April. As we neared the point where we had viewed every episode of the early 1970s at the BFI, 1970 and 1971 were completed in that we had verified the cast and places of every episode and created complete pages of all the guest characters. The preceding six years of BFI viewings had seen John and I solve the mystery of Frank Barlow's death (see Episode 1487 (21st April 1975)), develop an appreciation for Albert Tatlock and Susi Hush, and thrown up a number of surprises including a new version of the theme music (see Episode 907 (3rd September 1969)) and a new surname for Rita, as if she didn't have enough (see Episode 1183 (17th May 1972)). Meanwhile, the total number of articles crept up to 19,000.
The best yet because: We started to delve into the 1960s.
Shout out to: User:Pascal11
Progress: Our 20,000th page was added - Episode 9022 (28th October 2016). A gap in 2005 was plugged giving us verified casts and places for every episode between Episode 1577 (25th February 1976) and now. The quest to do the same for the remainder continues to this day.
The best yet because: The pool of users who contributed to the site regularly finally started to expand beyond me, John and Karen.
Progress: Up to 21,000 articles.
The best yet because: The ITV3 repeats create a surge of interest in classic Corrie, as well as guaranteeing that we're never idle!
Progress: With thanks to ITV and Kaleidoscope, we've been granted access to a huge archive of 1960s and 1970s episodes. This allows us to document that elusive first decade of the programme to a level that no other website has. The work began in February and it'll probably take us to our 20th anniversary!
Meanwhile, our work at the BFI is effectively completed after nine years. Every episode available to us has been seen and dissected apart from Episode 1202 (24th July 1972) which the BFI doesn't hold; instead they have an abridged omnibus version of 1202 and Episode 1203 (26th July 1972) numbered 1203a. When we discovered that Kaleidoscope's copy of 1202 was actually 1203a as well, we feared that 1202 had been junked - not exactly the news we wanted to deliver to the fans on our anniversary! - but we've been assured that a copy is held at ITV. Panic over.
The best yet because: Two major milestones and we've not even five months in.